More than one person has pointed out that the TGU material can be a bit daunting. From time to time I intend to pull out particularly interesting or important material to let it be more easily found. This is from a session on October 9, 2001, in response to a question from someone who had been reading previous transcripts.
Exercises for Spiritual Advancement
Rita Warren: Well, here’s an easy one. A question from the same person.
F: We’d like to know what an easy question is. It’ll be interesting to see this.
R: [chuckles] What would you recommend as the five best exercises for spiritual advancement?
F: [pause] Not an easy one, but it’s an awfully good one.
Practice love every day. Find some object to love, whether it’s a pet or a flower or an abstraction or a car – it would be better if it were a person. As you practice this day by day, make the exercise a little more – Raise the bar. So that practice loving something that’s successively less lovable. Anyone can love a dog, because the dog thinks you’re wonderful. It takes a little more to love a cat, because the cat thinks it’s wonderful. It takes more to love a woodchuck, because a woodchuck doesn’t care one way or the other. It takes more to love a rattlesnake, because you’re afraid of it. So you could easily raise the bar a little bit every day. The practice of love is the practice of overcoming the illusion of distance.
That’s really one through five, but another exercise? [pause] Well, this won’t seem to have anything to do with the subject. Practice changing points of view. When you are in a dispute – or even if you are in a pleasant exchange with someone – try, every so often, changing into their point of view. Try to really see it as they see it, as opposed to the way you see it. All right? Swap back and forth. Now, that seems to have nothing to do with spiritual self-development, but you’ll be astonished. If you’re able to do it. Difficult exercise. [pause]
[chuckles] Do we have to come up with five? Those are two very good exercises!
R: We don’t, that’s true, just because he asked.
F: Let’s – give us a moment here. [pause] Well, of course, a third one is, practice mindfulness, by which we mean do everything remembering that you are doing everything . Don’t let your attention flow outward to the object without also being internally lit in your own being. So that when you’re looking at the watch, remember that you’re looking at the watch; don’t only look at the time. When you’re driving a car, remember that you’re driving a car, don’t just only drive the car. Again, this is the kind of exercise that can be scaled up as you get –
Although, it’s not predictable what will be easy and what will be difficult. It will be different for different people.
So those are three exercises, anyway. You notice what they have in common is the raising of a certain kind of consciousness. Because the giving of love is also an experience of love, it’s a becoming familiar with love, so it is a form of consciousness raising, as well.
We would leave it at that for now.
An excellent question.